Metro SmartTrip cards now $2 for real
Let it be known to all that Metro riders can now purchase SmartTrip cards 60% cheaper than before.
For those who haven’t popped their Georgetown bubble yet, SmartTrip is a rechargeable farecard for all transit providers of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. This includes Metrorail and Metrobus.
Beyond the convenience of avoiding long lines of befuddled tourists at farecard machines, SmartTrip offers multiple monetary benefits. Using a SmartTrip card saves you the $1 surcharge applied to paper farecards and costs 20¢ less per Metrobus trip, compared to the cash fare. You may also transfer value on paper farecards to SmartTrip.
On the downside, a new SmartTrip policy might cause minor grievance for the forgetful. Riders now may only exit the station with a max negative balance of $1.50; otherwise, you must recharge at the Exitfare machine before being allowed to depart the premises. (Unless of course, you know how to parkour yourself over the turnstile.) Additionally, riders must have at least $1.20 on their SmartTrips to enter the station.
SmartTrip cards were previously sold for $5, but – for the exceptionally thrifty – cost $2 after an online rebate. Beginning October 1st, Metro will now sell SmartTrips for $2 at Metro sales offices and commuter stores. For dispensers at Metrorail stations and participating CVS stores, SmartTrip will still nominally cost $10, but $8 will be preloaded fare value.
Vox considered registering for the Auto Reload program online, which enables your credit card to reload SmartTrip when the balance dips below $10 – but that takes effort.